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What to do when a Performer Dies

When a performer dies, Patricia Lanca of ACTRA PRS ( or 416-489-1311 ext. 5022) should be contacted as soon as possible .  ACTRA PRS will then send the appropriate forms for completion as well as advise if any other documentation may be required.

ACTRA Fraternal Benefit Society (AFBS) must be notified as well as any other union or benefit plan the performer may have been associated with. The direct contact at AFBS is Vivienne Coelho at or 416-967-6600 ext. 245. 

Supporting original documentation confirming that the performer is deceased must be provided to both ACTRA PRS and AFBS.

Administration Fees

ACTRA PRS charges an administration fee on all residual payments made to performers pursuant to the Independent Production Agreement (IPA). These fees are as follows:

Member Category

Administration Fee

Admin Fee after death

Full Active Members






Suspended Members



Withdrawn Members



Resigned Members



Apprentice Members



Permitee Members



Make a Will or Trust

Residuals are considered the property of the performer and are payable for as long as their work is exhibited somewhere in the world.  As property, residuals  can be inherited by the performer’s benefactor(s) though a last will and testament and/or living trust.

To ensure that Residuals continue to be properly disbursed, it is suggested that performers make specific provisions for them by way of a Will or a Trust.

  • If a performer chooses to “split” his or her Residuals among more than one beneficiary the performer may designate a “Nominee”.
  • If multiple beneficiaries are named in a will or trust and a performer has not named a Nominee, all beneficiaries must come to an agreement of who is named the Nominee.
  • The Nominee will be responsible for sharing the residuals among the other beneficiaries.

PLEASE NOTE:   A nomination is not an interest in property and does not transfer upon death. If the Nominee is no longer able to accept residual payments and distribute them either due to his (or her) own death or incapacity, the original beneficiaries must choose a new nominee. To avoid this difficulty, it is certainly possible to choose a bank, a trust company or a similar corporation to act as a nominee and distribute the residuals accordingly.


If a performer directs the payment of their residuals to a corporation upon their death, residuals will continue to be paid to that corporation until the corporation is dissolved or until PRS is directed otherwise by the Estate.

Frequently Asked Questions

 Can I designate a beneficiary for my residuals prior to my death?

 You cannot designate a beneficiary in advance of your death but you can give a Letter of Direction to ACTRA PRS to pay your residuals to another person or organization.  If your last will and testament sets out a different beneficiary than indicated in the Letter of Direction provided to PRS, the last will & testament will supersede the Letter of Direction.

 As a beneficiary, are there any benefits (other than residuals) payable to me when a performer dies?

 There are no other benefits payable through ACTRA PRS; however, you should contact AFBS through the contact information noted above.

 What if a performer dies without a last will & testament or a trust?

 Contact ACTRA PRS through the contact information noted above for further instructions.

 As a beneficiary, am I entitled to residuals even if the deceased performer was not a member of ACTRA?

Yes. Residuals continue in for as long as the performer’s property/performance(s)  continue to be exhibited somewhere in the world. Contact ACTRA PRS to obtain the proper documentation and further instruction.



Latest Press Release:
ACTRA names Sarah Polley 2020 Woman of the Year

March 4th, 2020 - Toronto, ON — Canadian performers are shining a spotlight on ACTRA member Sarah Polley by naming her their 2020 ACTRA National Woman of the Year. ACTRA bestows this honour annually on an ACTRA member who excels in both her artistic and advocacy achievements.
Read more >


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